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Career and Education Opportunities for Urban Planners in Mesa, Arizona

Urban planner career and educational opportunities abound in Mesa, Arizona. There are currently 750 working urban planners in Arizona; this should grow 10% to 820 working urban planners in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for urban planners, which sees this job pool growing by about 19.0% over the next eight years. Urban planners generally develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of local jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, and metropolitan areas.

Urban planners earn approximately $28 hourly or $58,560 annually on average in Arizona. Nationally they average about $28 hourly or $59,810 annually. Earnings for urban planners are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Social Sciences in Arizona and not quite as good as general Social Sciences category earnings nationally. Urban planners work in a variety of jobs, including: traffic expert, neighborhood planner, and environmental planner.

There are seventy-six schools of higher education in the Mesa area, including two within twenty-five miles of Mesa where you can get a degree to start your career as a urban planner. Given that the most common education level for urban planners is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become a urban planner if you already have a high school diploma.


Urban Planner video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, urban planners develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of local jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, and metropolitan areas.

Urban planners hold public meetings with government officials and special interest groups to formulate, design or address issues regarding land use or community plans. They also assess the feasibility of proposals and identify needed changes. Equally important, urban planners have to layout, promote and administer government plans and policies affecting land use and transportation. They are often called upon to keep informed about economic and legal issues involved in zoning codes and environmental regulations. They are expected to inspect and evaluate environmental impact reports pertaining to private and public planning projects and programs. Finally, urban planners decide on the effects of regulatory limitations on projects.

Every day, urban planners are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for urban planners to mediate community disputes and help in developing alternative plans and recommendations for programs or projects. They are often called upon to advise planning officials on project feasibility, cost-effectiveness and possible alternatives. They also conduct field investigations, surveys, impact studies or other research to compile and analyze data on economic, social, regulatory and physical factors affecting land use. They are sometimes expected to develop or requisition graphic and narrative reports on land use data, including land area maps overlaid with geographic variables such as population density. Somewhat less frequently, urban planners are also expected to investigate property availability.

And finally, they sometimes have to recommend approval, denial or conditional approval of proposals.

Like many other jobs, urban planners must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Mesa include:

  • Economist. Conduct research, prepare reports, or formulate plans to aid in solution of economic problems arising from production and distribution of goods and services. May collect and process economic and statistical data using econometric and sampling techniques.
  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst. Study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.
  • Historian. Research, analyze, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.
  • Industrial Psychologist. Apply principles of psychology to personnel, administration, and marketing problems. Activities may include policy planning; employee screening, training and development; and organizational development and analysis. May work with management to reorganize the work setting to improve worker productivity.
  • Market Research Analyst. Research market conditions in local, regional, or national areas to determine potential sales of a product or service. May gather information on competitors, prices, and methods of marketing and distribution. May use survey results to create a marketing campaign based on regional preferences and buying habits.
  • Market Survey Representative. Design or conduct surveys. May supervise interviewers who conduct the survey in person or over the telephone. May present survey results to client.
  • School Psychologist. Investigate processes of learning and teaching and develop psychological principles and techniques applicable to educational problems.


Phoenix College - Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix College, 1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013. Phoenix College is a large college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,917 students. Phoenix College has an associate's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning.

Arizona State University - Tempe, AZ

Arizona State University, , Tempe, AZ 85287. Arizona State University is a large university located in Tempe, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 67,082 students and an admission rate of 82%. Arizona State University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning which graduated eighty-two and thirteen students respectively in 2008.


Planning and Scheduling Professional: The PSP certification is to recognize specialists who meet a demanding set of planning and scheduling criteria by a rigorous examination, experience, education and ethical qualificaion.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

Certified Economic Developer: Economic development organizations need professionals who possess the expertise to combat new challenges that emerge in a constantly changing industry.

For more information, see the International Economic Development Council website.

Certified Recycling Systems Professional: Earning this certification shows your employer and your colleagues that you are committed to only the highest standards in our industry.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.


Mesa, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona photo by Ixnayonthetimmay

Mesa is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 463,552, which has grown by 16.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Mesa, 92, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Mesa are priced at $289,200 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, five hundred eighty-four new homes were constructed in Mesa, down from 1,039 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Mesa are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 21.6% of Mesa residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Mesa is 7.9%, which is less than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Mesa residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Mesa is home to the Water Users Camp Ten and the Arizona Girls Ranch as well as Jackrabbit Stadium and McAfee Place Unit Two Mini Park. Shopping malls in the area include Riviera Plaza Shopping Center, Gilbert Plaza Shopping Center and Apache Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Mesa can choose from Hampton Inn Phoenix-Mesa, Extended Stay America - Mesa and Kiva Lodge Motel for temporary stays in the area.